Why haven’t I talked about this series in a while? That’s because it really hasn’t risen above the harmless the first volume offered. I went into this series, based on a concept from Masamune Shirow but with the manga actually by “Excel Saga’s” Rikudou Koshi, fully expecting a trainwreck and didn’t get that. Instead, “Pandora” has been a light action comedy following the hijinks that full-body prosthetic cyborg Nene and her android compainon Nene get up to on the high-tech island of Centacle. What makes it interesting to write about now is that things look to be building towards a climax.
While the massive mining machine known as Buer was successfully deactivated by Nene and Clarion back in vol. 2, Col. Kurtz (no, really) of the American Empire has been steadily and stealthily working to re-activate it and bring it under his control. He believes that having such a weapon will allow him to impose the order and control needed to bring stability to the world. Though Kurtz has the Empire’s massive resources to draw on, including a burly combat android named Fear (because the A.E. isn’t big on subtlety, y’know), they’ll still have to go through Clarion if they want to re-activate Buer. If they do manage that, then it’s a good thing Nene, without any combat enhancements, is on her way to the action to save her friend. Right?
Even with the raising of stakes, there’s still plenty of goofy lighthearted fun to be had in this volume. Among other things: Perpetually doomed reporter Vlind makes nice with some robots, Nene does her best malfunctioning advertising robot impression, and we get some cute videogame homages as she infiltrates cyberspace. The most impressive parts of this volume, however, are the fight scenes between Clarion and Fear. Comedy may be Koushi’s calling, but he stages some really impressive action between these two which helps bring the drama as things look to be wrapping up. While “Pandora” can’t really hold a candle to Koushi and Shirow’s best-known series, it’s still well-executed fluff that anyone who likes cute girls, androids, and cute girl androids would enjoy if they decided to check it out.